Karin Torrice - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage


House hunting can be enjoyable but becomes overwhelming pretty quickly. After looking at many different houses, they can all start to look the same. It’s hard to remember what homes had what features. In order to make a right decision on which home to make an offer on, you’ll need to remember the details of each house. Read on for tips to help you house hunt like a pro.


Keep Track Of The Homes You Have Looked At


Whether you’re doing simple online searches or touring open houses, it’s easy for your mind to get jumbled as to what you have seen. It’s a good idea to keep a record of homes with their addresses as to where they are located, the color of the house, and the desirable features contained within the home. This way, you can have an overall picture of what you want. 


Know What Features Are Important 


You should make a list of everything you’re looking for in a home before you even start searching. Include things like:


  • The price range
  • How big of a house you’re looking for
  • How many bedrooms
  • How many bathrooms
  • Additional features like walk-in closets
  • Eat-in kitchen or dining room
  • What type of home you’re looking for
  • How many stories you want the home to be



You can then branch off from the essentials on the list adding other desirable features in a property like a pool, a jacuzzi, a large backyard, or a fireplace. Then, you should make a list prioritizing what is the most important to you in your home search. Things like the number of bedrooms and the size of the home will be a higher priority than a jacuzzi tub. 


Look At Your Commute


One of the most significant factors in finding a home is how far it is from your workplace. The closer you are to work, the less stressful your life will be. If you take the train or a bus to work, it may be easier to live close to a station or stop. On the flip side, to be closer to work what are you sacrificing? Are you close to schools, parks, stores, and other regularly visited spots? See what locations suit your lifestyle.


Review What You’ve Looked At

Once you have done your research and decided what you need and want, it’s time to make comparisons. Look at the prices of each home and see what they have to offer for the money. Once you decide the price and amenities are on par with your original wishlist, the house is a good candidate to put an offer on.             



When you put your home up for sale, it can be an emotional time. You need to say goodbye to a place where you have lived for at least a small portion of your life. You created memories in that home, and now, it’s the job of a new family to make new memories. 


Once the home is well on its way to being sold, there will be an appraisal of the property. It’s scary as a seller to think that the appraisal has the ability to actually halt the entire sale of the home. It can be a confusing process, to say the least, to have your home appraised. You have determined your listing price and received an offer on the home already. It seems like backtracking to value the home after this part of the sale process is complete. 


The Appraisal Removes The Tension


The appraisal is one of the factors that bridges the worlds of the buyer and the seller. As a seller, the things that you think add value to your home may not be all you have hoped them to be. As a buyer, you want to be sure that you’re paying a fair price for the home. Below, you’ll find some common myths about home appraisals and the truth about them. 


The Appraisal Is Not The Same As An Inspection


The home inspection is used as a tool to protect the buyer. Although the appraisal is used as a protection for the buyer, the two are separate entities. The inspector looks at everything in the home that can be a problem including leaks, cracks, and faulty electrical systems. The home appraiser is simply meant to find the objective market and the estimated value of the home in that market.


The Appraisal Isn’t How Much The Buyer Will Pay


While the appraisal gives a good estimate of the value of a home, it doesn’t take every single factor into account. It’s one version of how much the home should be priced at. What the appraisal does affect is the contract on the home. 


If the appraisal doesn’t match the contract price, let’s say that the home is appraised lower than what you’re paying for it, the lender will not make up the difference. It can become a discussion between the buyer and the seller to see who will pay for the additional uncovered cost of the home. The buyer can pay the difference themselves. The seller may decide to cover the difference themselves. Either way, this is where the home buying process can get kind of messy.


Bigger Homes Don’t Necessarily Appraise For More Money


Just because a home is bigger, doesn’t mean that it’s worth more than the smaller home next door. A larger home could have issues with age such as an older roof, or less complex fixtures. If a smaller home is more updated, it very well could appraise for more. Don’t count on the square footage to dictate the appraisal price of a home.


You’ve been binging on HGTV and DIY network every weekend while you save up your money and you’re ready to take the plunge. Your agent tours you through several potentials and there it is … the perfect corner lot, the mediocre house with the awkward layout, chopped up floor plan, aging kitchen, and dated bathrooms. It’s just waiting to reveal shiplap behind the cracked plaster, original hardwood floors under the stained and dusty carpet, and other treasures you can only dream about until their uncovered.

You make the deal … now it’s all yours. Where do you go from here?

Find the right professional
Ideally, a contractor with renovation experience toured the property with you, casting a professional eye over potential problems and exciting possibilities before you made the deal. If not, engage one now. Renovations require specific knowledge of structural issues like which walls to safely remove giving you that open-concept floor plan and which might be load-bearing. Experienced pros know when to call in an engineer to determine whether to expose the beams or if the wiring needs pulling. 

Make a plan
As with any project, make a basic plan before you start. Unlike new-builds, however, your plan might be more general until you’ve removed walls and studs, discarded old cabinets and fixtures, and revealed the location of existing drainpipes, wiring, support structures, and other hidden gems. With everything visible determined, it’s time for demolition. Just know that with a renovation, once demolition starts, plans can change. A supporting beam here, an unmovable drain there, a hidden chimney under that plaster … could derail your perfect original plans. When that happens, a pro can help you figure out what do.

Don’t underestimate time
Watching a 57-minute renovation on television might give you an unrealistic expectation of how long it might be until your home is ready. After all, you don’t have a trove of assistants ordering cabinets, changing out flooring samples and visiting showrooms to cull through items for you. Choice fatigue (the inability to choose between too many choices) can stymy a project for a novice.

Normal delays, hidden issues
You’ve planned, then modified the plans after the demo, selected, deselected, then re-selected the cabinets, flooring, and fixtures. Now it’s time to get approvals and permits. Moving a project through the approval process in your municipality could be smooth sailing or rife with delays. Your professional contractor should help you navigate this process, but waiting for a permit can add days, or weeks to a project.

In addition to the normal delays, your demolition may uncover other issues that require remediation. These include lead, mold, asbestos, termite damage, shifting foundations, broken pipes, and myriad other possibilities. Bringing wiring up to code and changing out electrical panels consumes precious time and adds to the delays.

Before taking on a fixer-upper, seek the advice of a real estate professional with renovation experience to help you make a plan, and plan for contingencies.


The ultimate goal of a home search is to find a residence that matches or exceeds your expectations. To enjoy a rewarding homebuying experience, you need to prepare accordingly.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you reap the benefits of a successful homebuying experience.

1. Narrow Your House Search

Think about where you want to live. By doing so, you can refine your home search and look for houses in your preferred cities and towns.

Also, creating a list of homebuying criteria usually is a good idea. This list can include home must-haves and wants, and ultimately, will help you further narrow your house search.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Purchasing a house can be simple, particularly for those who get pre-approved for a mortgage. With a mortgage in hand, you can enter the real estate market with a budget. Then, you can pursue houses that fall within your price range and speed up your search for your dream home.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, it is important to review all of the mortgage options at your disposal. Meet with banks and credit unions and discuss various mortgage options. This will allow you to learn about the differences between adjustable- and fixed-rate mortgages and find a mortgage that corresponds to your finances.

In addition, don't hesitate to ask mortgage questions when you meet with banks and credit unions. Lenders employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists, and these professionals will do everything possible to help you make an informed mortgage decision.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

A rewarding homebuying experience may be tough to achieve if you decide to pursue a house on your own. Thankfully, real estate agents are available who can provide plenty of guidance along the homebuying journey and ensure you can accomplish your desired results.

If you work with a real estate agent, you can take the guesswork out of purchasing a house. First, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about you and your homebuying goals. This housing market professional then will craft a homebuying strategy to help you achieve the best-possible results as quickly as possible.

In addition, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about open house events, set up home showings and help you analyze the housing market. If you discover your dream house, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer to purchase this home. Plus, if you have concerns or questions at any point during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent can respond to them.

When it comes to simplifying the homebuying experience, hiring a real estate agent is essential. Because if you have a top-notch real estate agent at your side, you can get the help you need to seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey.

Ready to find your dream house? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can enjoy a rewarding homebuying experience.


If you want to enjoy a seamless homebuying experience, it generally is a good idea to establish a property buying plan. That way, you can take a step-by-step approach to make your homeownership dream come true.

As you prepare a homebuying strategy, there are several factors to consider. These factors include:

1. Your Dream Home Definition

There is no one-size-fits-all definition of a dream home. Instead, this definition varies from buyer to buyer. But if you define your ideal residence, you can narrow your house search accordingly.

Think about the features you require from a home. For instance, if you want a house that offers multiple bedrooms, you can search for residences that provide you with the space you need. On the other hand, if you want a home that boasts a deluxe swimming pool, you can search for a residence that offers this feature.

Consider where you want to reside, too. By doing so, you can search for homes in a select group of cities and towns.

2. Your Homebuying Budget

You likely have only a finite amount of money that you can spend on a residence. Thankfully, if you establish a homebuying budget, you can search for houses that fall within your price range.

Oftentimes, it helps to meet with banks and credit unions before you start a house search. These financial institutions can teach you about a broad array of home financing options.

Don't hesitate to discuss your home financing options with a variety of banks and credit unions, either. If you check out myriad home financing options, you can select a mortgage that complements your finances perfectly.

3. Your Homebuying Timeline

You may want to create a timeline for buying a house. With this timeline in place, you will know precisely how many days, weeks or months you have to find and acquire your dream residence.

If possible, you should maintain a flexible homebuying timeline. There is no telling when problems may arise as you search for your dream house. And if your homebuying timeline is flexible, you can adjust it at any time.

For those who want to streamline the homebuying journey, you may want to employ a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional will go above and beyond the call of duty to help you find a great home at a budget-friendly price. Plus, he or she can offer expert guidance as you craft a property buying strategy.

Also, as you navigate the homebuying journey, a real estate agent will respond to any concerns or questions. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is happy to provide homebuying tips and recommendations that you may struggle to receive elsewhere.

Ready to transform your homebuying vision into a reality? Craft a homebuying strategy today – you will be glad you did. Once you have a homebuying plan at your disposal, you can navigate the property buying journey with poise and confidence.




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